The interest and the complexity of Himmo, King of Jerusalem are heightened by its setting - a monastery in Jerusalem during the siege of 1948. This monastery has been converted into a hospital for wounded Israeli soldiers. Himmo is one of them, now no more than a blinded, truncated stump. Only his mouth still reminds one of the perfection which once earned him the title: King of Jerusalem. Hamutal, a nurse, has lost her fiance in the war and now devotes herself to what is left of Himmo. The doctors do not understand her spiritual crisis when she identifies with his suffering. They ask: What is true generosity - to allow Himmo to die, or to eke out what is left of his shattered life?
Outside in the city, shells are falling everywhere, a battle symphony into which these individual voices are orchestrated. And above the monastery, in a half-ruined belfry, hangs a bell - both a warning and a relief - which the wounded tug at.
The novel portrays Hamutal`s profound inner crisis as she decides to administer enough serum to kill Himmo.